Judge Me By My Neighbour
For the majority of our lives, we are pushed and grouped together into friendships and acquaintances that you may not otherwise fall into. By no means is this a bad thing. It helps us grow, it develops our people skills, it makes us who we are today. And besides that, sometimes you are so thankful that life pulled you and certain individuals together. But the underlying truth is that you get judged by the people that you associate yourself with.
The School Playground
On a very basic level, taking us back to the stereotypical school playground. Generally, there are the popular kids that always hang around together… and then there are the ‘other’ groups, that are generally bound together though classes and other common interests. Popular kids wouldn’t be seen with certain ‘loser’ kids… and yes, that is a reflection on their personality. But generally, they will only hang out with other kids that they see to also be popular… or at least not a ‘loser’.
Now this is a very stereotypical view and whilst I hope that everyone is a lot more inclusive, there is still this stigma regarding certain groups in schools; the popular kids, the sports players, the academics or ‘nerds’, that group that plays online gaming (and not just Xbox, they’re into the super crazy PC gaming world).
Sports are another great example of being judged by the people that you associate yourself with. Did Mohamad Ali stay winning gold medals at the Olympics, or did he move to the professional league and become the best boxer in the world?
Do all footballers stay at their grass roots clubs, or do they move on to semi-pro and the pro clubs?
Do professional tennis players continue to play with their high school doubles partner, or partner with someone more on their level?
Your team mates and the circumstances that you surround yourself place a stamp on you. You are branded with their mark and will forever only ever amount to the success of your peers.
Associate Yourself with Different People
While there are people in your life that will always be there- Your family, your friends, your dog… you do need to constantly keep widening your circle. If you are successful in what you do, your circle is likely to automatically widen. That is all well and good if it happens naturally. But what a lot of people don’t realise, sometimes you have to make a conscious effort to widen your circle and it doesn’t happen naturally. If you don’t, you may never amount to anything other than being the best… of your friends or family at your particular field. By no means is that bad… but there is whole world out there for you to go and be successful in.
Ambitious people are never just ‘ok’ with being the best of their group. Neither of my parents, siblings, or my close group of friends are perusing a white-collar job. As a result, I know whatever job in the legal sector I land will most likely be white collar worker, and I will be the best out of my family at friends (at white collar work). However, that does not stop me from wanting more from life… I don’t want any white-collar job. I want to be a commercial solicitor in London… one of the most competitive areas of law. That is my dream. That’s my ambition… and as a result, I have to surround myself with people in that industry, and likeminded people.
“Align yourself with people that you can learn from, people who want more out of life, people who are stretching and searching and seeking some higher ground in life.” ― Les Brown
How to Grow Your Circle
How easy it is to grow your circle will depend on your situation. If you are from a small suburb in a remote part of the world and you have big business plans, it might be a bigger life decision compared to if you are in a big city with loads of opportunities around you. Pretty much all of what I’m about to say is going to be easier said than done. You will have things stopping you… money, time, access… it might even be your own mental state. But life is about struggle, and you need to overcome obstacles to become successful. Success isn’t easy otherwise everyone would do it.
Step 1: Get involved with and clubs/societies/organisations that are available to you, where you can meet like-minded people. People are friendly, especially if they have joined the club too. You have a mutual interest so don’t be worried that you won’t fit in. You never know what opportunities and contacts you will get that help you on your path to success. If you are university and you have an interest, start your own society. People will sign up and you will make friends. Get involved.
Step 2: Networking events. Go and talk to people who are in the industry. Networking events are more formal arrangements that sometimes you have to pay to go too. It doesn’t even have to be an event. Just go out there, talk and meet people in your industry. People are usually willing to help you and will at very least offer you some advice. Be the social butterfly.
Step 3: Get in contact with old acquaintances you used to know who are in the industry and are doing well. The fact they know you means that you are already ‘friends’. They are more likely to help you, and have the ability to give a reccmomendation and as they previously know you, instantly putting you ahead of all the others looking to widen their circle. Use your contacts.
Step 4: Make yourself presentable. This might seem like an odd bit of advice, but you make an initial impression when you are first seen. If you don’t look particular nice; you need a haircut, you smell, your clothes are creased, you don’t have a particularly good style choice… people will judge you and you may lose out because of it. In addition, look into what industry and see what appropriate dress is. Always wear a Suit or Formal wear to an Interview, regardless of industry. When in doubt, overdress. You will make a good impression if you look great and a bad impression if you look underdressed. When you look good you feel good and give good vibes. This even extends to making friends. Make yourself Presentable.
Step 5: Cut the toxic people out your life. This might seem harsh but it’s true. The Nexflix series ‘You’ demonstrated this perfectly; Peach a close friend of Beck would constantly put her down and sabotage her success as a writer. This is an extreme example, but you might have people in your life like that too. It may be very hard to disassociate yourself from them. They may be a friend. They may be your partner. They may be your family. But you need to make a change otherwise they will always drag you down, and you will forever be associated with them and their destructive ways. This doesn’t always mean cutting them out your life, but you need to let them know that you will not let them get in the way of your success. Don’t let anyone drag you down.
Step 6: Don’t give up. Sometimes people just aren’t interested in being a part of your circle. Everyone goes through hard times in their life and so we all have to respect that this might be the case. Equally, they just aren’t interested in you. But the world is a huge place. There are 7 billion people on the planet and growing. There is someone out there are waiting to see potential in you and who will want to become part of your circle and accept you into their’s. Never give up.